Saturday September 22, 2018

USA observing CPR and AED Awareness Week from June 1-7, to save lives from Cardiac Arrest

The month of June is designated to raise awareness for the practical purposes and training of CPR & AED

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CPR training: CPR is being administered while a second rescuer prepares for defibrillation. Image source: Wikipedia
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Back in 2007, the American Heart Association, The American Red Cross, and the National Safety Council joined forces and worked fervently to assign one week of the year for CPR & AED Awareness. By December 13 2007, Congress declared that the first week of June will be recognized as CPR & AED Awareness week.

Unfortunately for the people who worked so hard to designate one week of the year to raise awareness on these two rescue tactics, the first week of June coincides with a nationally recognized holiday; Memorial Day. They have taken it upon themselves to recognize the month of June as CPR & AED Awareness Month, as opposed to just using the first week to recognize such an important topic.

CPR and AED Awareness posters. Image source: cpr.heart.org
CPR and AED Awareness posters. Image source: cpr.heart.org

The purpose of raising awareness of this first aid training tactic is simple; to save lives. According to the American Red Cross, cardiac arrest is the one of the main causes of death in adults. These sudden cardiac arrests typically happen in homes. The mission of raising awareness is also to ensure that at least one person in every household has received CPR & AED training and can properly aid anyone who may need that specific medical attention.

CPR stands for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. It is a rescue technique that one individual applies to another who is suffering from cardiac arrest. It is a series of actions that includes compressing on an individual’s chest and breathing air into their lungs. The goal is to ensure that a person’s blood circulation and oxygen in their body stay at functioning levels.

An AED machine in Akihabara Wikimedia Commons
An AED machine in Akihabara. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator. An AED is a machine that you can find attached to walls in many public locations. The defibrillator is used in very serious situations. When used, it restores an individual’s electrical signals to their heart. In these serious situations, if the AED is not used it could result in death or incapacitation.

The importance of CPR & AED is very blatant for anyone to see. It must be noted that these life saving tactics cannot be properly maneuvered if one has not been trained to do so. The attention CPR & AED Awareness Week/Month receives is beneficial to all. Many CPR/AED classes are available for people to take, and information is obtainable. Local events are typically hosted for the awareness week, and The American Heart Association encourages you to look into classes. The AHA also has free printable documents, which you can use to spread the word about CPR & AED Awareness Week in your very own community.

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Scientists Discover A New Method To Fight Alzheimer’s, Dementia

Worldwide, about seven percent of people over 65 suffer from Alzheimer's or some form of dementia, a percentage that rises to 40 percent above the age of 85.

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Alzheimer's
One hemisphere of a healthy brain (L) is pictured next to one hemisphere of a brain of a person suffering from Alzheimer disease. VOA
Eliminating dead-but-toxic cells occurring naturally in the brains of mice designed to mimic Alzheimer’s slowed neuron damage and memory loss associated with the disease, according to a study published Wednesday that could open a new front in the fight against dementia.The accumulation in the body of “zombie cells” that can no longer divide but still cause harm to other healthy cells, a process called senescence, is common to all mammals.

Scientists have long known that these dead-beat cells gather in regions of the brain linked to old age diseases ranging from osteoarthritis and atherosclerosis to Parkinson’s and dementia.

Prior research had also shown that the elimination of senescent cells in ageing mice extended their healthy lifespan.

But the new results, published in Nature, are the first to demonstrate a cause-and-effect link with a specific disease, Alzheimer’s, the scientists said.

Alzheimer's
A lady suffering from Alzheimer’s. Flickr

But any treatments that might emerge from the research are many years down the road, they cautioned.

In experiments, a team led by Tyler Bussian of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota used mice genetically modified to produce the destructive, cobweb-like tangles of tau protein that form in the neurons of Alzheimer’s patients.

The mice were also programmed to allow for the elimination of “zombie” cells in the same region.

“When senescent cells were removed, we found that the diseased animals retained the ability to form memories, and eliminated signs of inflammation,” said senior author Darren Baker, also from the Mayo Clinic.

The mice likewise failed to develop Alzheimer’s signature protein “tangles”, and retained normal brain mass.

 

Alzheimer's
Alzheimer’s disease patient Isidora Tomaz, 82, sits in an armchair in her house in Lisbon, Portugal. It’s predicted that by 2050, 135 million Americans are going to suffer from mild cognitive impairment, a precursor of Alzheimer’s. VOA

Keeping zombies at bay

A closer look revealed that the “zombies” belonged to a class of cells in the brain and spinal cord, called glia, that provide crucial support and insulation to neurons.

“Preventing the build-up of senescent glia can block the cognitive decline and neuro-degeneration normally experienced by these mice,” Jay Penney and Li-Huei Tsai, both from MIT, wrote in a comment, also in Nature.

Bussian and his team duplicated the results with pharmaceuticals, suggesting that drugs could one day slow or block the emergence of Alzheimer’s by keeping these zombie cells at bay.

“There hasn’t been a new dementia drug in 15 years, so it’s exciting to see the results of this promising study in mice,” said James Pickett, head of research at Alzheimer’s Society in London.

 

Alzheimer's
The accumulation in the body of “zombie cells” that can no longer divide but still cause harm to other healthy cells, a process called senescence, is common to all mammals. IANS

For Lawrence Rajendran, deputy director of the Dementia Research Institute at King’s College London, the findings “open up new vistas for both diagnosis and therapy for neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s.”

Up to now, dementia research has been mostly focused on the diseased neurons rather than their neighboring cells.

“It is increasingly becoming clear that other brains cells play a defining role,” Rajendran added.

Several barriers remain before the breakthrough can be translated into a “safe, effective treatment in people,” Pickett and other said.

The elderly often have lots of harmless brain cells that look like the dangerous senescent cells a drug would target, so the molecule would have to be good at telling the two apart.

Also Read: Common Painkillers Triple Harmful Side Effects in Dementia

Worldwide, about seven percent of people over 65 suffer from Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia, a percentage that rises to 40 percent above the age of 85.

The number afflicted is expected to triple by 2050 to 152 million, according to the World Health Organization, posing a huge challenge to healthcare systems. (VOA)